Re: Coercion

From: Howard J. Van Till <>
Date: Thu Apr 08 2004 - 19:24:41 EDT

On 4/8/04 3:53 PM, "Gough, Joshua" <> wrote:

> What about intervention via "agents" that are not agents in a
> traditional sense at all, but are mechanical creations of other agents?
> For example, would God intervene to prevent the launching of a nuclear
> weapon against Israel? If God would, which method of intervention would
> God choose? Would God take the path of least resistance and modify the
> software instructions within the operational circuitry of the weaponry
> such that a command to fire would result in a null operation, or would
> God choose a more theatrical display of power more like those recorded
> in the Bible?

I would suggest that the choice between the two methods that you propose
here is of little, if any, theological consequence. In either case you
propose that God is both able and willing to interrupt the creaturely
cause/effect system and to supersede it with direct (coercive) action to
ensure an outcome different from what otherwise would have taken place.

You have now opened the door to the theodicy problem. If God would do that
(act coercively) on one occasion, then why not on others leading to equally
horrific human suffering? How can God escape culpability for pain and
suffering if the "coercion card" is always available, but only rarely used?

Howard Van Till
Received on Thu Apr 8 19:25:04 2004

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